Frizzy curly hair seems to be a huge issue many are dealing with. Since having this blog, most of the questions I get from readers are about frizz.
I see it in the curly hair groups as well and on social media. Some people are new to the curly girl method and obviously just need to wait for their hair to improve but others have been doing it for years and are now battling frizz.
The top causes of frizzy curly hair
1. Dew Points – Dew points affecting hair was very surprising to me because I had only considered humidity before. I didn’t even know the difference between dew point and humidity.
If you’re not familiar with dew point, it is the temperature below which water droplets begin to condense and dew can form. It’s a bit more technical than that but that’s a basic definition.
You need to know about dew points because they affect how certain ingredients perform on your hair, like humectants.
Humectants are ingredients that reduce the loss of moisture. They attract water molecules to the hair to keep it hydrated. As you can guess, that causes frizz if there is a lot of moisture in the air. One example is glycerin.
Emollients are usually hydrophobic oils that act as anti-humectants and seal the hair, like shea butter and olive oil.
2. Protein Moisture Imbalance – If your hair is not moisturized enough it will frizz in its search for more moisture. If it has too much protein it will also frizz because it needs moisture. And sometimes frizz is a sign your hair needs protein.
When your hair is soaking wet, it should look frizz free like the picture below. If the clumps are frizzy before you even apply styling products, then you have a protein moisture imbalance.
Not enough protein, too much moisture: curls are stretched out and can feel too soft, mushy and are frizzy
Too much protein, needs moisture: hair feels dry, looks stringy, frizzy
3. The wrong styling products – Taking into account how dew points affect the performance of the ingredients in styling products, it’s easy to see how you could unknowingly be using the wrong styling products.
4. Applying products the wrong way – The Curly Girl Method details a special way to care for and style your curls for them to look their best.
Often people apply styling products to towel dried hair that hasn’t clumped and is not properly hydrated. They also don’t use enough products so once it dries, it will frizz.
5. Buildup – Buildup is often a cause of frizz, especially if you’re using products with heavier ingredients like shea butter on a regular basis.
Over time, these products build up on the hair and coat it, not letting moisture in and possibly clashing with the weather.
You can tell your hair has buildup when it starts to look dull, weighed down, like it’s full of product, or gets greasy more quickly.
6. Touching your hair while it’s drying – This is so simple. If you touch your hair while it’s drying, you risk disrupting the curl pattern. If the curl doesn’t set, then it’s more prone to frizz. You want your hair to dry in the clumped curl patterns so that it holds that same shape when it is dry.
7. Using regular towels – Regular terry towels remove too much moisture from hair, which of course causes frizz. Even if you’re not rubbing it still causes frizz.
8. Damaged hair – Hair that has been through heat styling and processing (hair dye, straightening treatments, perms, etc.) is damaged and has open cuticles. These open cuticles allow moisture to enter and escape, and make it difficult for your hair to maintain a style. Products are not well absorbed so they can’t protect your hair against the weather and your hair does not absorb and hold on to moisture, both of which cause frizz.
Read this post on hair porosity to find out what you can do to improve your hair’s health.
9. Sleeping on a cotton pillowcase – Like regular towels, cotton and polyester pillowcases absorb moisture as you sleep. Your hair also rubs against the fabric and tangles.
10. Using products with hidden sulfates and silicones – Sulfates dry out hair and many shampoos contain sulfates. Silicones coat the hair to give it a smooth feeling but they can only be removed with sulfates, so they cause buildup and give a false smooth feeling to the hair.
11. Humidity – Now I know this one isn’t so surprising, but it’s such a big cause of frizz that I had to include it. I live in Miami where the humidity averages in the 70s and 80s year-round with daily afternoon storms so I am very familiar with the battle against humidity.
However, even lower amounts of humidity can affect your hair. So checking the weather forecast for the day or next few days can be very helpful to combat frizz.
Humidity causes frizz because the hair is absorbing the moisture in the air around it. If you want to know the technical science behind it, this article explains how humidity affects hair pretty well.
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Tips To Reduce Frizz in Curly Hair
1. Clarify regularly
2. Application method
Try different application methods with your styling products. With curly hair, you should be applying your styling products to soaking wet or damp hair. Your hair should feel soft like seaweed and clump well while applying styling products.
If you see frizz in your wet hair, add more water and/or conditioner. Sometimes if you need more moisture a more hydrating method of applying products like the Bowl Method will do the trick.
It can also be that the application method you’re using is not properly distributing the product or you’re not applying enough product. Try using more product and be sure to scrunch it in really well to distribute the product all over. Try raking and praying hands in addition to scrunching to see what works best for your hair.
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✨WASH DAY TUTORIAL✨ Sharing the IG version of my full wash day routine today! I split it into 2 videos so swipe to watch the second one. The video shows how I style my hair after washing and conditioning. I normally do this in the shower with my head upside down and soaking wet hair, and you can see my hair is dripping here. Applying products before using a hair towel reduces frizz and gives your curls better definition. ______ This is a full @evolvh routine, which is my favorite line for my thin hair because it gives me soft, weightless curls. 1️⃣I used the @evolvh SmartColor shampoo and conditioner for the first time and I’ll be sharing more about these soon. 2️⃣Before styling, I massage the @briogeo Scalp Revival Treatment serum all over my scalp to help with the itching and flaking. 3️⃣I spray the @evolvh SmartStart leave in conditioner liberally all over and focus on getting good clumps of curls. You can see I scrunch and squish a lot, and even finger coil a few curls. This is such an important step to help prevent frizz and have better definition. 4️⃣I apply the @evolvh Total Control Styling Creme and WonderBalm and do a lot more scrunching and squishing up to the roots. 5️⃣I use a flour sack towel from @rawcurls to squeeze out any excess water. 6️⃣I diffuse my hair dry on high heat low speed being careful not to move it much so the curl clumps stay intact. 7️⃣When I’m done I shake it out and recoil any frizzy pieces. _______ I have more videos on my YouTube channel and several blog posts on my blog. ✨And you can use code HE15 for 15% off at @evolvh . . . . . #curlycommunity #curlygirl #curlygirlmethod #naturallycurly #naturalwavyhair #curlyhairtips #curlyhaircare #curlyhairdontcare #curljunkie #teamcurly #healthyhairjourney #curlsforthegirls #loveyourcurls #curlygirlsrock #cleancurls #curlscurlscurls #curlsaunaturel #wavyhair #curlcommunity #curlfriends #greenbeauty #cleanbeauty #hairtransformation #cgmethod #curlyhairproducts #curlyhairproblems #curls #saferbeauty #crueltyfreebeauty #evolvherlife
Make sure you’re using a microfiber hair towel or a cotton t-shirt to dry your hair. Use the hair towel after you’ve applied the styling products and never rub. From the ends, push up towards your scalp and press to absorb water. You can also try regular plopping.
After this don’t touch your hair while it is wet and drying. You can use a diffuser to speed up drying.
4. Proper hydration
Make sure you’re deep conditioning on a regular basis and using the right leave-in. Almost all curly hair needs a leave-in conditioner.
Remember that moisture in your hair means less opportunity for moisture in the air to cause frizz. Try moisturizing styling products and moisturizing application methods if your hair is really dry, but don’t forget to pay attention to dew points and humectants in the ingredients.
5. Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase or use a buff
6. Use firm hold styling products
Especially in humid and high dew points, use firm hold styling products to protect hair from the moisture in the air. Curly girl approved hair spray can be used on dry hair for days with high dew point and humidity.
7. Understand when to avoid humectants
Choose your styling products based on dew points and humidity.
In high dew points (over 60F/15C), use firm hold styling products and more emollients and use humectants with extreme caution.
In low dew points (below 30F/-1C), use leave-in conditioner and emollients and use humectants with caution.
Humectants work well in dew points of 40-60 F (4-16 C). And remember that some emollients build up so you need to clarify.
8. Do protein treatments if your hair needs protein
Rice water rinses and protein treatments like the products pictured below can help boost protein. Be careful with how often you do these treatments. Low porosity hair needs a lot less than high porosity. Read more about that in my porosity post.
9. Use sulfate and silicone free products
One of the most important parts of the curly girl method is using sulfate and silicone free products. Don’t just go by the label, read all the ingredients! “Sulfate free” doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any sulfates in it.
You can download my Curly Girl Method Ingredients Guide here to see all the different sulfates and silicones to look out for.
I hope these tips can help you with frizz. Let me know if you try them in the comments.